Some Frustrations of Daily Life

  1. Truck passing truck on a road with one passing lane, with about a 1 mph speed difference.
  2. Pulling a tissue out of a tissue box, and having to dive in to get the next one.
  3. Emptying the second rack of a dishwasher (Caution: always empty the bottom one first!) and having to empty the water from the bottoms of teacups and dry them.


Ah, Ken Rhodes’ comment reminded me of the reason I often don’t answer my land line, since it’s very often a call from “Rachel from Card Services calling about your credit card account.”

Author: Mike Maltz

Michael D. Maltz is Emeritus Professor of Criminal Justice and of Information and Decision Sciences at the University of Illinois at Chicago. He is currently an adjunct professor of sociology at the Ohio State University His formal training is in electrical engineering (BEE, Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, 1959; MS & PhD Stanford University, 1961, 1963), and he spent seven years in that field. He then joined the National Institute of Law Enforcement and Criminal Justice (now National Institute of Justice), where he became a criminologist of sorts. After three years with NIJ, he spent thirty years at the University of Illinois at Chicago, during which time he was a part-time Visiting Fellow at the US Bureau of Justice Statistics. Maltz is the author of Recidivism, coauthor of Mapping Crime in Its Community Setting, and coeditor of Envisioning Criminology.

13 thoughts on “Some Frustrations of Daily Life”

  1. The urban version of (1): a wave of cars rush through the intersection on yellow with no room for them to get through, blocking the intersection. Wins bonus points because cars end up in the pedestrian crossing, which annoys pedestrians, who intentionally get in the way of the miscreants to punish them which makes everything worse.

    Being required to use use the company-mandated third-party travel service that has screwed up every single one of the five business trips I've taken this year in some way.

    And perhaps specific to folks living in less-nice urban environments: I have to defend my trash cans. I have no exterior location to put them, so my trash/recycling/compost lives in the kitchen. Once a week at sometime between about 9 and 11pm, the trash trucks come. If I don't keep close watch, either the bins end up dumped in the street, covered i graffiti or just stolen. Had to get a replacement recycling bin two weeks ago because I fell asleep and someone stole it.

    Ah, first-world problems.

    1. We've started shaking down any visitors to our home to see who's stealing our tops and bottoms. Haven't found any that way, but occasionally, a sock will turn up. And even though my wife and I don't work in offices any more, our pens are still going somewhere. At least whoever's taking them doesn't try to steal our TVs or laptops.

      1. I have your pens. Please come get them at your earliest convenience.

        Here's the thing: I prefer fountain pens, but I bought two dozen ballpoints some years back for check-writing, grading, carrying around and lending. And now I am drowning in ballpoints of various sorts. I don't steal pens (honest!), and I realize lots of businesses and charities provide pens as favors and advertising (the one with the little flashlight is actually kind of useful). But somehow retractables with advertising for places I've never been show up in my house. (It is possible of course that you and I share a burglar with Robin Hood tendencies and a thing about pens who is, as we used to say, not clear on the concept.)

        But to the point of the original question: organizations that send address labels as some kind of "free gift." I'm not sure why they're so annoying, except that I try to make sure nothing containing personal information goes into the trash, and the labels don't work well with the shredder. How is it that they have not figured out by now that we're all getting address labels from all those other organizations and doing everything online, anyway? If they want to get our attention, maybe they should send something useful. Like, I don't know, a pen?

      2. Back when I smoked pot, I was a well-despised lighter thief. It was unintentional, just a habit of tucking the lighter in my pocket after using it. Most of my closer pot-smoking friends learned the pattern, however, and would snap their fingers at me after my bong hit. Still, when other guys did it to me, I was incensed the next morning to see none of my three lighters on the coffee table.

        As for tupperware, it is truly amazing how you have 30 tops and 24 bottoms and only three match. I think one of the culprits might be the average heat of modern American tap water. It gets as high as 170 degrees…..I think some of the tops shrink!

  2. Re: no. 1 – yeah, what's up with that? Truck drivers know better, and have plenty of incentives to keep traffic flowing. I think there must be a good reason for it, but I can't figure out what it would be. And, since the passing driver nearly always succeeds, why doesn't the right lane guy just slow down a little to speed the process?

  3. Open dishwasher. Turn teacups on their sides in the rack. Walk away, come back in five minutes. Problem gone.

  4. Oh man, this thread could get good. My blood pressure is already rising. First off, yes, in Mexico, a mountainous country, chockful of illegally overloaded doble-semi-remolques (34-wheelers), it is EXCRUCIATING to be behind some passing others on a steep uphill passage. Say goodbye to the next eight minutes of your life.

    On the topic of road rage, I get apoplectic at the drivers who clearly never took driver's ed, and stay stationary at the intersection where they want to make a left turn, as the steady stream of cars coming the other way prevents them from doing so. You are supposed to advance to the middle of the intersection, so that people behind you can either go right or swerve around you to go straight. Yet these solipsistic halfwits will delay every person behind them for three light cycles, rather than inching out past the crosswalk.

    Young yuppie groups out on the town who will walk six abreast on the sidewalk, forcing you to either step into the street on the outside of the pack or frottage the edge of the building on the inside. I now have grey hair and am north of 14 stone, so I just continue walking straight, let's see if the investment banker wants to butt shoulders or behave himself civilly.

    Households where they think having a $140 butcher block set of 15 Cuisinart knives, all of which suck, is better than one $140 knife that actually cuts. (Snobbery, I know, but not a first world problem per se — my landlord in Mexico is a professional chef, and we run a bistro 5 afternoons per week in our courtyard, and we have the local tinker sharpen our knives every fortnight.)

    Liquid soap in showers. It's okay on bathroom sinks. But I want a bar of soap in the shower, not 15 returns to a pump down in the left hand corner of the tub. When I'm cleaning my asscrack, I want it to be one bar of soap removed from my fingers, not my fingers themselves.
    Whenever someone I visit has only liquid soap, I try to leave a Clarence Thomas pube on the pump (kidding, but the thought has crossed my mind, since you know these germaphobe mommies banned soap because of pubes).

    European pubs with the bottles upside down and the measured pour, or bartenders who use a 1.5 oz. jigger…..can't an Irishman who's established a bond over complimenting the San Antonio Spurs in San Antonio get a heavy pour and leave a bigger tip???

    I'll stop there. But this is a great question, I could go on and on.

    1. Related to your road rage, here's my personal pet peeve: City street with 2 lanes each direction. Car in left lane waiting at light, right lane empty. I pull up in left lane behind waiting car. Light changes, and the lead car pulls out to mid-intersection, I start to follow…and the first car STOPS and then, and only then, turns on their left-turn signal. Whereas if they'd done what they were supposed to, and signaled while they were waiting, I could have easily gone into the other lane where it would be easy to go around.

      I've found just making the assumption that every other driver on the road is, in fact, an idiot, and planning accordingly, is the best strategy. I try not to do any idiot moves myself. I think I avoid them pretty well…but then, that's what the idiots think, too.

  5. Left Lane Lieutenants – These oblivious people who hang out in the left lane of Interstates, blithely passing by double signs every five miles which say "Stay right except to Pass", thereby screwing up traffic flow and needlessly endangering everyone else. Usually also illegally using their cell phones and ignoring their rear-view mirrors completely.

    Unfortunately, James Bond's Aston Martin's extendable wheel knock-off razor hubs still illegal.

    1. Ugggh, I drive through Texas six times per year to and from my home in Mexico, and it is at epidemic levels there. And it's really often two guys in a big pick-up, chatting away and sucking down their beers and smoking their cigs, whom you really don't want to get into a Easy Rider showdown with by flashing your lights or tailgating.

      Speaking of which, I also get annoyed with suburban mommies in $75,000 BMW or Audi SUVs with baby-on-board stickers or "My kid is an honor student at Whitman Elementary School" who drive 27 in the 45mph zone, just to be safe with a child in the backseat.

    2. Here in northern New England, the worst offenders are from Massachussetts, closely followed by those from NJ. One of the things that very pleasantly surprised me when I moved here a couple of decades ago is how observant the locals* are of this rule. On state roads with one lane in each direction, when someone realizes that you are passing or about to pass (by swinging into the lane for oncoming traffic) it is not uncommon for someone to hug the right side of the road or move half into the shoulder to ease the passing.

      *as defined by NH, VT or ME plates

Comments are closed.